Floods Are Signs of Things to Come

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Farayi Munyuki The floods that swept Mariental last week were the most common and devastating disaster to have hit Namibia since in independence. What should have been a blessed rainy season instead turned into disaster when authorities in Mariental decided to open the town’s dam’s floodgates, thereby causing damage and suffering to the town’s people and their property. Most of those who lost property and jobs are obviously poor people. They have no means of recovery unless some good Samaritans turn up at their doorsteps. The same happened to the people of the Caprivi region when they faced a similar situation. They were promised aid and assistance, and that food would be given to them and yet nothing happened. Instead, a governor in the region locked up the food in a warehouse until it got rotten. Here in Windhoek, those who once faced hardships because of flooding as a result of the closure of the Sam Nujoma stadium natural flow of water, have just been told that they would no longer receive food from the Windhoek City Council. They are now seen as too demanding. In the case of the City Council of Windhoek, the flooding was human caused. In the question of Mariental, it was also human caused. To claim and deny that the blame should be placed on the weather is just being callous. It goes to show that some officials just become insensitive and do not care what happens to the people under their care. One wonders what they would have said had they been the ones who had suffered this kind of calamity. What could the people of Mariental have done before the floods and how could they have protected their property during and after the storm? The people in Mariental should have been advised to buy flood insurance in order to have their property protected, business and financial security. These measures should have been put in place almost two years ago when they were subjected to almost similar floods, than be subjected to the insults of Dr Shivute. The local government around Mariental should have planned itself a well-drilled preparedness plan, which involves those efforts undertaken before a flood to prepare for a capability to respond to the event. In the case of Mariental it does appear there was not a single plan in place on what should be done in the event of a flood. It is time now that officials in some of our big towns brace themselves for dealing with natural disasters that occur without warning. The floods in the North, in the Caprivi Region and now in the South are harbingers of a coming summer.